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Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover up your answers and look at the sentence.  You are given a sentence with two blanks.  Choose the blank that seems easy to you, predict an answer, and eliminate any choices that do not match your prediction for that blank.  Then do the same with the other blank.

There was no denying the lecturer’s ------- , but her arguments were unsophisticated and ------- .

After reading the sentence, you must choose which blank you want to focus on first .  The second blank seems a little easier than the first, so look at it.  The speaker’s arguments were “unsophisticated” and “blank.”  This is a good time to make a vague prediction rather than spending a lot of time trying to guess the specific word that fits in the blank.  The word “unsophisticated” is a negative word, so you know that the word in the blank must also be negative because the two words are connected with the word “and.”  Eliminate all of your answer choices that do not have a negative word for the second blank:

(A) bravura . . precise
(B) boorishness . . unoriginal
(C) charisma . . vapid
(D) competence . . infallible
(E) indifference . . benign

(A) Precision is something you want in a lecturer so it is positive.  Eliminate this answer choice.  (B) “Unoriginal” is a negative word so keep this choice. (C) If you do not know a word, keep it.  (D) Not being able to fail is good, so “infallible” is positive and you can eliminate this answer choice. (E) If you do not know a word, keep it.

Now look at the first blank.  Notice that it must contrast with the second part of the sentence because there is a “but” between the two parts.  Since both of the words in the second part of the sentence are negative, the first blank must hold a positive word.  Look at the answer choices that you have left and eliminate any that do not have a positive word for the first blank:

(B) boorishness . . unoriginal
(C) charisma . . vapid
(E) indifference . . benign

(B) “Boorishness” is a negative word so it matches the second part of the sentence.  Eliminate it.  (C) “Charisma” is a positive word.  Keep it, but be sure to check all of the answer choices.  (E) “Indifference” is a negative quality in a speaker so you can eliminate this answer choice.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Unsophisticated: unrefined
Bravura: a display of daring for show
Precise: accurate
Boorishness: being a boor, a rude person
Charisma: personal charm or magnetism
Vapid: dull, insipid
Infallible: incapable of error
Indifference: lack of interest
Benign: kind, mild, or not a threat


On sat.collegeboard.org, 58% of the responses were correct.

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